You may have heard of canine allergies from fellow dog owners or your veterinarian. Your vet suggested your dog was at risk for allergies, making you realize they are not as simple as they may seem. There are several symptoms that you should know about.
Types of Dog Allergies
Allergies can result from the body’s immune system reacting to the presence of specific foreign substances, usually food. They affect both animals and people and can come in many different types almost exclusive to the organism.
However, like humans, dogs can also experience skin and food allergies and environmental allergens, making life more complicated for them and their owners. These allergy symptoms can sometimes overlap, leading to confusion and even misdiagnosis.
While there is dog food for allergies, ensure that the first order of business is to visit a veterinarian whenever you suspect your dog of having allergies.
Skin allergies or dermatitis are the most common form of allergic reactions in canines. These can happen for several reasons, which include but are not limited to:
- The presence of fleas
- Allergic reaction to certain types of food
- Environmental allergens
Flea bites can result in allergic dermatitis when your dog is allergic to flea saliva. Canines can experience itchiness and irritation around their bottoms, particularly the base of their tails. To alleviate pain and irritation, dogs may scratch, bite, and lick at these areas, causing them to redden and inflame. Eventually, a scab may start to form in these areas.
Food sensitivities and allergies can cause itching, as well. Common areas where dogs with food allergies start to itch are behind their ears and in their paws. This may come with gastrointestinal issues.
Pollen, dust, mold, and other environmental allergens can cause atopic dermatitis in your pets. More often than not, these allergies are seasonal and may only take place during specific times of the year. Like food allergies, allergies brought on by the environment usually affect the paws and ears, though there are instances when the muzzle, wrist, groin, and underarms experience symptoms too.
Regardless of skin allergy, there is always a risk of skin infection. Your dog will scratch, bite, and lick at these areas like there’s no tomorrow, which could crack open the skin and make it a breeding ground for yeast and bacteria.
Legit food allergies may not be as common as dog owners think. They result from an immune system response and range from symptoms in the skin, stomach, or both. In rare instances, true food allergies can even result in anaphylactic shock, which can be deadly when left untreated.
What’s the deal with canines on special hypoallergenic diets? Generally speaking, a dog has food sensitivities or intolerances. Unlike true allergies, food intolerance does not result from an immune response; it’s a gradual reaction to an ingredient your dog does not take well. It could result from eating chicken, eggs, beef, or milk.
Dogs sensitive to certain types of food may exhibit symptoms such as itchiness, a dull coat, chronic infections, and gastrointestinal issues.
Acute Allergic Reactions
More alarming than any type of allergy is an acute allergic reaction. That’s because these types of allergies tend to cause anaphylactic shock, which can be fatal in many instances. They are among the more severe allergic reactions that should never be left untreated.
From bee and wasp stings to vaccine reactions, among other things, allergic reactions of the acutest kind can result from these events. That’s why it’s always a good idea to keep watch over a furry friend that’s been recently jabbed with a new vaccine or drug. The same goes when introducing a new type of food to these highly sensitive creatures. Anaphylactic reactions are uncommon in dogs but better safe than sorry, right?
Treating Dog Allergies
Treating dog allergies most effectively means avoiding the cause and allergen, which may not always be possible. However, it would depend on the type of allergy your dog is experiencing when it comes to treatment. Skin allergies caused by fleas should be easy enough to treat; just get rid of the fleas. Food intolerances may be slightly more complicated to address, but a change in diet should bring some positive changes.
Aside from lifestyle changes, your dog’s vet might prescribe allergy relief medicine to help manage the signs and symptoms associated with the allergic reaction. In that way, itching and secondary skin infections won’t be as noticeable.
In case of a severe allergic reaction, taking your pet to the nearest vet hospital would be the best course of action.